News 2013

Title: Youth Climbing Series Kicks Off
System Date: 04/02/2013
Youth Climbing Series Kicks Off

4 February 2013

Article by Damien O'Sullivan. Video and all photographs are courtesy of Richard Creagh.

The first rounds of the annual Youth Climbing Series (YCS) Competition took place last Saturday, 02 February. Two rounds were held concurrently; Mardyke Areana, Cork and Gortatole OEC, Fermanagh.


Young climbers from all around the country gathered in Cork for the day and the event was a huge success. Each entrant had to attempt six climbing routes, each of a different style in order to test the overall ability of the climber. The higher a climber got the more points they received. Children aged 7 to 17 competed in their respective age categories and the skill and determination on display was very impressive. The youth climbing scene in Ireland has been growing steadily in the past few years and numerous clubs have been set up around the country like the Cork Youth Climbing Club and Winders Climbing Club (Dublin). Coached by some of Ireland's most talented climbers the kids are fast learning the techniques and proficiency that most climbers in Ireland up to now have had to rely on years of experience to attain. The current level of ability in young Irish climbers may best be revealed by the fact that a teenager from Belfast, Dominic Burns, is currently ranked number one in the world in his category.

Climbing is different to team sports in that it is quite a personal act. Individuals can decide which style of climbing they prefer best and without the pressures of a team to support climbers can focus more easily on what it is they want from their climbing. That's not to say that it is a solitary activity either - the climbing community is a small one and climbers of all ages willingly help out those who need it. Though the YCS is a competition the overall feel of the day was one of fun and encouragement as the whole crowd rallied behind their fellow climbers, willing them to the top and roaring encouragement from the floor. What stuck out most was the help and sportsmanship that each competitor showed to their peers, regardless of age or ability.

Youth Climbing Series Kicks Off


In the North the first round of the Northern YCS was running. The first round was hosted by the Hanging Rockers Youth Climbing Club. The local volunteers kindly put on tea, coffer, cake and sandwiches - all of which was greatly appreciated by all who travelled up!

The first round saw 46 young competitiors from all over the Northn of Ireland. All age categories were well attended, especially the younger age groups. The format was the same as last year with 3 routes and 3 boulder problems. This gives everyone of all abilities the chance to push themselves on the variety of routes that were set.

Full results will be available below shortly. A big thank you to all that helped on the day to make is so successful. It is your support that makes these events possible. You are to many to list individually but a special mention should go to the Hanging rockers, Gortatole OEC for their hospitality and to Eddie Cooper for excellent route setting and Chief Judging duties!

The winners from the day took home generous prizes donated by Hillwalkers, Great Outdoors, The Mardyke Arena, Awesome Walls Climbing Centre, Gravity Climbing Centre and Costwold. The next round of the Southern series takes place in Dublin on the 2nd of March and the Northern Series on the 13th of April. The All-Ireland final is set for the end of April. With youth climbing in Ireland going from strength to strength at the moment it seems certain that the Irish impact at the finals in the UK will be even bigger than it was last year.

A full gallery of photographs can be found HERE.

There are also some great picture form the Gortatole round on the MI youth climbing series facebook page here.